Inputs hacked

Author's note: This article is part of an ongoing blog about my adventures in the world of alternate currencies.

Another reason I find high Bitcoin prices annoying is this, the recent hack into the Inputs IO wallet service.1) I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I get the impression the hacker managed to compromise the site's security in a more unusual way, but also that the vulnerability he or she encountered is fairly common with websites set up in a similar manner. Other sites that TradeFortress owned have also been hacked, including CoinChat and a gambling site.

TradeFortress is trying to refund depositors some portion of their funds, digging into his personal funds as over 4000 BTC were lost. He's apparently not including transaction fees in these refunds so they are not confirming very quickly.

One of the things I notice about these things is that it brings out the cynicism, smugness and accusations in other Bitcoin Forum members. Accusations are flying around that TradeFortress engineered this himself as a way to run away with all the funds, and whatever he is doing now to attempt to make things right is not enough and casts further suspicion on his character.

I am for the time being believing that this was a genuine attack from the outside, not part of a scam operation. This means that I and other victims are considered idiots for “falling for it.” I noticed this when I first got onto the thread about Mining United, that if you fall for a scam, people on the Forum are very quick to label you as an idiot. If you fall for something they think is a scam (and in this case scam is defined as anything that doesn't work out perfectly), then you are an idiot and they will be sure to tell you at every possible opportunity. Apparently kicking others while they are down is quite a popular occupation.

The other thing that these unfortunate occurrences bring out is a whole bunch of pathetic whining and calling for the government to get involved. When is a police report going to be filed? Someone should 'sick the FBI on TradeFortress and make him pay back every penny.

Seriously? I'm not categorically against the police being notified when there has been a theft, but the FBI? Or the Australian equivalent of the FBI? Isn't part of the appeal of Bitcoins that they function outside of the regulatory sphere of Big Brother and central banking?

People want to have it both ways. They want to be left alone to manage their personal Bitcoins in whatever way they see fit. But then when a service they choose goes bad for whatever reason, they want to run crying to the government. You either have the government protecting you, and you deal with all the strings that are attached to this protection (mostly heavy regulation which often gets in the way of one's ability to prosper), or you take ownership of your choices and take the losses when they happen.

I personally never kept much tied up in Inputs–I merely used Inputs as a gateway into my CoinLenders account. At the moment my account is frozen. I can see the balance when I log in, but I can't access it. TradeFortress says he'll figure out what to do with CoinLenders balances once he gets through dealing with the Inputs balances. Fair enough. I hope I get to see at least some of those funds again. Let's just say I stand to lose several times as much as what I lost in the Mining United scam. In the long run I'll probably do much better emotionally if I just consider it lost. Then if I get part of it back it will be better than I'd thought.

Having a hack on your service which causes financial loss to others is also looked upon by people who know a thing or two about coding as the unforgivable sin, or at least the crime that deserves insult heaped upon insult along with a lot of self-righteous “why, I would never do it that way!” thrown your way. A couple weeks ago, TradeFortress woke up to his worst nightmare, then frantically weighed options and in the end decided it was best to close up shop and salvage what he could for his customers. Unfortunately during the two weeks between discovering the hack and announcing it, many people had made deposits, and are now indignant that they were allowed to deposit into a wallet that was already known to be insecure. Oh the horrors. Another way of handling Bitcoins which had some serious potential–saving customers a bundle in transaction fees–bites the dust, and the critics have a field day running down the man who dared to dream and do something with it.

If you want to do something in the crypto world that will benefit you and help others, you had better have a real thick skin. And it helps to execute it flawlessly from start to finish. Even so, you will be criticized throughout. If you are successful, those jealous of your success will try to run you down. If you fail, well, you may never live it down. If others were negatively impacted by your failure, then it would take more courage than the average hero has to show your face on the Forum again.

Not exactly a warm supportive environment where creativity is encouraged. This may be the biggest hindrance to Bitcoin and other alts going mainstream.

If TradeFortress is an actual scammer, then he's not going to care about all the insults. In fact, they would probably stroke his ego all the more. If he's not a scammer, but someone who made a big mistake, one that caused financial loss to his customers, then dealing with the aftermath is quite enough punishment in my opinion. No one needs to rub his face in it. In other words, the insults, the cynicism, the self-righteousness accomplish absolutely nothing positive.

But I bet people are taking note. People with budding ideas, people with big dreams and plans, people who have an end goal in mind but who know it will take some trial and error to get there. They are harshly reminded that among other things they have to consider whether or not they can take the heat or if it's even worth it. They have to know that when something goes wrong, they will pay dearly for it. Some of those people will choose to remain on the sidelines and we'll never get a chance to benefit from their great ideas which will not see the light of day.

Hanging out your shingle in the Crypto world is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Next entry: Dont keep all your eggs in one basket

Devtome Writers

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